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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • I have been reading this board since 2000 and decided to join up. We have a 2001 Sienna LE with 26,000 mile on it. We bought the car new and love it. However, I am getting this valve tapping noise from under the hood. It happens when the engine is cold and the temperature outside is less than 45. When the car reaches it's shift point I hear the tapping (loud). Then after the car is warm no problem.

    My question is:

    " Does anyone else have this valve tap "
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    I have the same sound. Been there since new. I find the transmission holds on to 2nd gear when the engine/drivetrain is cold until about 58Km/Hr and only then does it shift into 3rd. It bothers me a bit as on days like today (-15 C), I'd prefer the engine to not rev that fast when it's still cold. The clatter at that speed is quite pronounced. I also find accelerating just past 58 allows the transmission to shift into 3rd thereby allowing the revs to drop and the clatter to subside. Of course, once all is warmed it, it's quiet as a mouse. Next oil change I'll ask the dealer what's up. Mine is a 2001 also.
  • Very interesting, I would be interested to learn what they say at your next oil change. Maybe you can post I will try to keep a ear out.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    my 1999 sienna is the same when cold, tranny will stay in 2nd until it reaches about 50kph. and then shift into 3rd but i dont have any valve clatter.

    any automatic transmission is like this when cold - some worst than others. for manual tranmissions, it's also harder to shift when cold. so it's always good to warm up your car before driving off. it's also important that you let the tranny shift by itself when cold instead of flooring the gas and force it to shift!

    as for the clatter, it takes a while for everything to be lubricated and this is why you get the clatter. this happens more with older cars or when temp. is really cold.

    bottom line, warm up your car before driving off. drive gently and smoothly until your engine temp. reaches the normal operating temp.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,409
    -Delayed shifting: This is a feature of electronic transmissions; I suppose it's done to help the engine warm up faster, reducing emissions. I don't much care for it either. It's got nothing to do with the transmission being cold and not wanting to shift, though.

    -Valve clatter is normal in many engines -- if they have hydraulic lifters. Has nothing to do with temperature per se, but lifters pump up much faster when the oil is warm and thin. VWs and Subarus are known for that and it's not a problem... typically disappears in a few seconds to a minute or so.

    AFAIK, Toyotas use solid lifters. Those aren't supposed to clatter, cold or hot. I'd at least talk it over with somebody competent and experienced (as opposed to a bunch of yahoos on the internet. myself included. no offense). Toyota engines are supposed to have their valve clearance checked periodically, though it's rare for any adjustment to be necessary. I remember a post by a "Master Diagnostic Tech" on the Toy usenet group who said of the Corolla 4cyl engine: Check valve clearance: Every 50k miles. Adjust: Never done one yet.
    I believe it... 4cyl Corolla 1.8l solid lifters 181k miles... I have all the records and NO mention of adjustment.

    Sold it this week to buy a Sienna... I'm new here... Hi...

    Anyway, good luck,
    East Lansing, MI
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    I notice the chatter only on cold days, when the engine is still cold, upon acceleration, near 2500+ rpm. It seems the chatter is less with cleaner oil vs. older oil...

    It's interesting to note how little grunts and groans are noted by Sienna owners...due to the vehicle's quietness!
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    oh yes its got everything to do when the engine/transmission is cold. Its -22c outside and gear changes are delayed (time wise) because its takes more time to warm up. I wouldnt rev the engine or speed upto force it to change gears. Youre probably doing more damage that way.
    i also have a 87 camry with over 200k kms and when its warmed, one can hardly hear anything.
  • Hello,
    I ahve a 2001 XLE with the JBL premium sound and it ounds terrible. It sounds like there is too much bass, but I have already turned that way down. Does anybody else have the same problem?
  • mwengler, you mention a "pulsing problem in the back brakes" anyone else have a pulsing / low "thud thud thud" noise as you brake at slow speeds. Any pointers are appreciated so I can point the dealer in the right direction. I had it in last week for a brake inspection and they found nothing. Thanks,
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    could this be your ABS? normally, when your ABS kicks in, you will hear this "thud-thud-thud" sound and a little bit of pulsing with the brake pedal.
  • I think I have the same brake noise that you described. No one has yet to determine the cause nor cure for mine. Pls. review my previous post and see if it sounds like the noise you have.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    Phillipm & cwsibley, the question is when does this sound arise. Does is only arise when the road is wet, snow covered or always. If its the former then its normal as the ABS in intervening and one can feel the pulsating on the pedal. If its the latter then there might be an issue.
  • Irregardless of road conditions. Dry, wet, snowy, makes no difference. Sound is most noticeable when you gently, slowly apply the brakes. A clunk,clunk,clunk eminates from the rear brakes. Almost like a flat spot or knot on a defective tire will make. However, a new set of tires made no difference and I have closely inspected the tires for any defect and found none. The brakes perform well,just noisy. I have had several passengers who were in the van inquire what the clunking sound was. It's that obvious. The van is out of warranty and that's the reason I hoped someone on this site might have had the same problem so I wouldn't have the expense of taking it in to the dealer. Any ideas or suggestions will be appreciated.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i suggest you jack up your van and try to turn the rear wheels and observe if you can hear anything and if the wheels rotate freely.
    if it rotates freely and you hear nothing, i suggest you remove the drums and inspect your shoes/drum.

    it could be due to:
    - hot spots on your brake shoes
    - shoes not installed properly
    - drum needs to be turned
  • I'd second jeprox's analysis. If the sound occurs when you apply the brakes, chances are it's the brakes, not your tires.
  • Does anyone get a vibrating/humming noise when your 2003 Sienna Symphony edition is at idle? Specifically when you are in drive and stopped? It sounds bassy when the RPM's are around 600 or so.

    This happens to me when the engine is at operating temperature. I have brought it into the same dealer twice and while the mechanic notices the noise they tell me its normal. This is because no one else has addressed this issue.

    I went and test drove another 2003 Sienna and got the same noise. I called toyota corp and no one else has called on this. companies usually don't do anything until enough people complain about the same thing. I am pursuing arbitration on this car with toyota, to me its unacceptable! Let me know what you think, I'd be interested to know.
  • Has anyone had an issue with a clicking noise coming from the front end of their Sienna when shifting from reverse to drive? My '01 XLE has 30K miles on it and has been meticiously maintained from day one. I jacked up the front and checked out the CV joints and they seemed to be in good shape. With the front end off of the ground and the tranny in park, when I try to spin one of the tires it sounds like that same clicking noise is coming from the tranny. Please tell me this isn't common.
  • 03 Symphony w/7k on it. Also have the squeaking breaks. Interested if anyone who purchased their Sienna new and has had the problem recur and tried going through their local state lemon law?

    This is the third time I've brought the car in for service and they replaced the rear drums.

    I love the van. Had a 91 previa that had 150k. had a fender bender and the insurance co totaled it. Own an 88 corolla w/130 k on it as well. I've had good luck w/Toyota, hope it doesn't run out...

    Anyone gone through their state lemon law on this?
  • I also have a problem with rear brake noise.It is hard to beleive that toyota does not correct this problem .As good as the van is there should not be hard to correct this problem.After all every other minivan manufacter can build a van that the rear drums don't squeak when stopping.There should be a fix for this.go
  • Somewhere I had heard or read that the squeaking brakes had to do with the lining of the Toyota brake shoes. I think it was that they were asbestos-free or something that caused them to glaze over easily. Replacing them with generic Auto Zone shoes worked, I think. My '02 XLE does the same thing. I tell my wife that it's a "feature".
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